Importance Of Bridging Gender Gaps In School

Oct. 12, 2023, 1:29 p.m.

It is essential to create an environment in the classroom where learners feel safe, respected and valued. Minimising gender and other biases in schools is crucial for cultivating empathy, respect, and a sense of belonging among learners.

Here, in this blog, we have explored a few steps schools may adopt to minimise gender disparity in the classroom.

Establish clear policies and procedures for addressing gender bias incidents

Policies for addressing gender biases could be established through:

  • guidelines for how to provide support to the affected ones and for disciplining those who have engaged in such bias.
  • clear definition of what constitutes a bias, including examples of the types of behaviours that are not acceptable in the classroom.
  • system for tracking and documenting bias incidents, to help identify areas of concern
  • plan for follow-up and ongoing support, including resources to use in addressing the impact of the incident and preventing future biases

Organise professional development and training sessions for teachers and staff

Conducting regular sessions on professional development and training sessions on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion can be an effective way for schools to address biases in the classroom. These sessions help provide teachers, students as well as staff with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to create an inclusive and equitable learning environment for everyone. These sessions could be carried out through:

  • ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in lesson planning and curriculum development.
  • ideas for engaging students in discussions and activities that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, and encourage critical thinking in them to meet these issues.
  • ongoing support and resources to teachers and staff to continue to learn and grow in their understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Open forum to share experiences

It is important to create a safe and supportive environment where learners feel safe to share their thoughts and experiences, and where they feel confident that their voices are heard and valued.

There are several ways through which schools may encourage open and honest conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion.They are:

  • Letting students share their thoughts and experiences in class discussions and activities, and providing a safe and supportive environment where they feel comfortable doing so.
  • Fostering a sense of community and belonging within the school, and work to create opportunities for students across genders to engage with and learn from one another.
  • Encouraging students to ask questions and seek out additional information about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and provide resources and support to help them do so.
  • Fostering open and honest communication among students, teachers, and staff, and creating opportunities for all stakeholders to provide input and feedback on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Gender neutral language and unbiased resources

It is important to use a language in the classroom that is respectful and non-offensive and to avoid use of language that stereotypes or marginalises any particular group of people.

There are certain ways through which schools may ensure that the language used in class materials is gender neutral:

  • Using language that is respectful and non-offensive to all groups of people, including those who are part of historically marginalised or underrepresented communities.
  • Using resources that feature a diverse range of perspectives and experiences, to ensure that all students see themselves represented in the materials that are used in the classroom.

Foster a sense of community and belongingness

Fostering a sense of community and belongingness in the classroom is an important step schools can adopt to minimise gender biases and create an inclusive and equitable environment for learners. When learners feel a sense of belonging and connection to their peers and teachers, they are more likely to be engaged in their learning, feel safe and supported, and do better academically.

Here, we have highlighted some ways through which schools may foster a sense of community and belong within the school:

  • Encouraging positive interactions among students, teachers, and staff. This can be done through activities that bring students together. Sports Clubs, group projects and discussions, are some of the best ways to work effectively as ice breakers in this regard.This can also be done by creating opportunities for students to share their culture and experiences.
  • Supporting student leadership and empowerment by encouraging students to take leadership roles in school activities, such as organising events, and creating school policies and procedures.

It is crucial to understand that minimising biases in school requires continuous effort and commitment from everyone involved including administrators, teachers, and staff, to students and parents. Addressing biases in the classroom is important not only for the well-being of learners but for their overall academic growth. A school culture that actively works to minimise gender biases and promotes inclusivity and equity creates a safe and welcoming environment where all students feel valued, respected and can thrive.

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